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Serena Williams' Historic Career Ends with Loss to Ajla Tomljanovic at US Open

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 3, 2022

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Twenty-three time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams' immaculate career has come to an end after Ajla Tomljanovic defeated the greatest of all time in three sets—7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1—in the third round of the U.S. Open on Friday evening.

Williams, who announced her decision to evolve away from tennis in an article for Vogue last month, fought valiantly in her final match.

She took a 5-3 lead in the first set after breaking Tomljanovic in a game where she scored all four points.

However, it was all Tomljanovic for the rest of the first set, as she broke Williams twice and held serve two times of her own for the 7-5 victory.

ESPN @espn

Ajla Tomljanović secures the first set win after rallying from down 5-3 💪 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/tItTxKABsl">pic.twitter.com/tItTxKABsl</a>

Williams fired back by breaking Tomljanovic twice and going up 4-0 in the first set with her serve. She ended the third game with an ace, one of seven for her in the second set.

ESPN @espn

Three straight points to start off the second set for Serena Williams 📈 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/dlXovMyXrv">pic.twitter.com/dlXovMyXrv</a>

Tomljanovic broke Williams to get a game back. The two then traded games before an epic 24-point game with Tomljanovic serving down 5-2. Williams had four set-point chances, but Tomljanovic held each time en route to winning the game.

Williams then lost her serve to even the breaks, and the two soon went to a tiebreak.

US Open Tennis @usopen

Ajla is making a ferocious comeback! <a href="https://t.co/SKhial00Ts">pic.twitter.com/SKhial00Ts</a>

Williams found herself up 5-4 with Tomljanovic about to serve twice, but she persevered and won the next two points en route to the second-set win. The first one was courtesy of a phenomenal baseline winner.

US Open Tennis @usopen

WOW.<a href="https://twitter.com/serenawilliams?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@serenawilliams</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/SQvVnj4vNU">pic.twitter.com/SQvVnj4vNU</a>

US Open Tennis @usopen

This tennis match.<br><br>More, please. <a href="https://t.co/6YdwVwTLqE">pic.twitter.com/6YdwVwTLqE</a>

Williams started strong in the third set by breaking Tomljanovic, and she took a 40-15 lead in the second game with a chance to go up 2-0.

But it was all Tomljanovic from there en route to the match win. She battled back to break Williams and then won the next five games for the victory.

Tomljanovic's best effort occurred in the fourth game, where Williams staved off three break-point chances before the eventual victor converted the fourth shot to go up 3-1.

All credit goes to Williams for fighting hard in the last game, however, as she fought off five match-point opportunities before Tomljanovic won the sixth.

Tomljanovic will now play unseeded Liudmila Samsonova, who is ranked No. 35 in the WTA rankings, in the fourth round.

Samsonova has won all three of her U.S. Open matches in straight sets, including a second-round victory over 2021 U.S. Open runner-up and No. 14 seed Leylah Annie Fernandez.

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